Summary: The life of Elijah gives us hope
“Hope to Hold On” 1 Kings 18-19 7/24/3005
I have a glass here on the platform - is it half-full or half-empty? It depends on how you look at it! I remember back when the show “The Six Million Dollar Man” was on, reading an article in the paper. It said a scientist had determined that our bodies are 98% water [or whatever percent] and figured we are worth about $2. Yet, when he thought a little more, thinking about complex amino acids, he refigured our worth at billions of dollars. It all depends on how you look at things.
If you stand on a side of a hill, the answer to whether you end up on the mountain or in the valley depends on where you are looking and where you are going.
We want to talk this morning about depression and victory. Having HOPE to HOLD ON! And it starts with our focus.
Two shoe salesmen went to Africa - after two days one wired back, “This is miserable, the worst market ever, nobody wears shoes - I’m coming home.” The other wired back, “This is great, best opportunity of my life, no one here wears shoes - double my initial order!” How do we look at things.
We want to look today at Elijah, the prophet of God. Turn with me to 1 Kings 19. We have been going through the OT together, looking at how God calls out a people for himself. We saw the nation develop from the patriarchs, a kingdom established, and a kingdom divided. Last week we saw how the kingdom split under Rehoboam, son of Solomon. Jeroboam becomes king in the northern part, called Israel, and Rehoboam remains king in the southern part, called Judah. Jeroboam doesn’t want the Jews going down to Judah to worship at the temple, so he makes 2 idols of cows, and he puts one in Northern Israel and one in Southern Israel, to try to get the Jews not to go to Jerusalem to worship YHWH. He says, “These are your gods, O Israel.” And the people start turning away from worshiping the one true God.
The future kings of Israel continue to be evil, godless men, and so God sends his prophets to call the people to repentance. One of the key prophets was Elijah. 1 Kings 17-19 tells us his story. The name Elijah means “The LORD is my God”, and his ministry is to the northern kingdom of Israel. In a day of tension and apostasy, God needs a prophet who can deal with the highs and lows of ministry. And Elijah faces a lot. Let’s see where we find him in 1 Kings 19. READ 1 K 19:1-5a.
What was Elijah feeling?
2-threatened 3-fear 3-isolation 4-overwhelmed 4-burnout 4-lack of vision
6-failure to see God working 8-miraculous things seem mundane [loss of awe]
In a phrase, Elijah is ready to give up. You’ve been there before. I have too. We sometimes get to the point where we just don’t care anymore. We have no hope left. We have no more energy to fight. We wonder why we are doing what we are doing and if it is really worth it. We want to give up.
If Elijah were an ordinary man, this wouldn’t surprise us much. But Elijah has had a powerful ministry. Quickly reviewing the events of chapters 17 & 18:
I. The thrill of victory - living on the mountain
A. Supernatural Provision - 17:1 - Elijah prophecies it will not rain for 3 years, and in verse 4 God sends him to drink from brook, fed by ravens. Later in vs.14 he is sent to the house of a widow, and is told her flour will not run out.
*When you are living victoriously God provides for your needs in miraculous ways. Elijah has seen this.
B. Supernatural Performance - 17:20-22 - Elijah brings a the widow’s son back from death
When you are living victoriously, God lets you do things you are personally incapable of doing.
C. Supernatural Prestige - 18:7-10 - Elijah is known throughout the north. God gives great renown
D. Supernatural Proclamation - 18:21 - God helps Elijah speak boldly
He stands against all the prophets of Baal and calls fire down from heaven.
E. Supernatural Confidence - 18:27-34 - God gives Elijah confidence to believe that God will send fire, even on a wet, drenched sacrifice.
F. Supernatural Prayer - 18:36 - God answers his prayers in powerful ways
But often in living victoriously, Satan attacks us, and instead of staying on the mountain enjoying the thrill of victory, we fall down and face the agony of defeat.
II. The Agony of Defeat - going down in the valley
What is it that causes us to give up? Elijah has seen the power of God displayed in unbelievable ways, he has personally delivered God’s message, yet he is driven to despair and hopelessness. Why? The issues Elijah deals with are the same ones that we often deal with as well. In 1 Corinthians 10 we are reminded that these stories from the OT are examples for us to follow and to learn from. What do we learn from Elijah?